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Watching for Monarchs

October 17, 2013

Dear Friends,
The rainy season is for us over now. From now on, we will be having deep-blue sky, but gradually colder mornings and evenings. Swallows have definitely left with the raining time. Their nests are totally empty now—a distinct signal that the Monarchs' time is coming.

Today, our four Official Monitorers, José Alberto, Rosa Isela, Javier, Erika and I made an appointment to meet at their school. There I was, having the fortune to get their teachers' permission to make some photos about their school life for you.

Remember our four friends and their parents are now living in the "Barrio Sustentable Monarca." A kindergarten and elementary school were just opened last August, after long, complicated government proceedings to provide education for the children of families badly affected in the flood events in 2010. Before now, all of these nearly 150 children attended school within very irregular conditions and depending on the ability of their parents to send them to different schools in town. Their life was still emotionally and financially not stable, and public services such as water, electricity roads and transportation were not regular either.

We left directly from school to make a long and enjoyable walk around El Cerrito watching for trace of a Monarch. El Cerrito, only some hundredths of meters away from their home, is Monarchs make their last halt before reaching two main Sanctuaries near our town.

Most children who knew where we were going in that moment asked to us astonishingly:

"Are you really expecting to see a Monarch now?"

With enthusiasm, we responded, "Why not? Times are unpredictable nowadays and we want to be the very first ones informing our American and Canadian counterparts of their actual arrival to their Sanctuaries!"

They nodded their heads without a word, as if judging us silly with a slight, laughing shine in their eyes knowing we would not be lucky, but happy to have us to walk around until getting exhausted. That it was. NO MONARCHS  YET.

Exhausted and disappointed, we made towards home, not really enthusiastic to fill in our monitoring map with a zero report this week:

"You, Estela, draw that 'zero' for us. We are too tired and disappointed to report our ill-fated expedition today."

"Monarchs should not take not long to appear," we assured to each other, not confessing among us our deep, real wish to see them within only some days. The difference in shine in those childrens' eyes at school, hardly able to raise our arms to wave good bye to each other, but firmly convinced that maybe next week could be the one . . .

Until next week,

Estela Romero
Local Reporter
Angangueo, Michocán, México.

Angangueo, Michoacan, Mexico Map: Location of monarch butterfly overwintering region in Mexico
Located in the mountains near the two largest monarch sanctuaries.
Monarch Wintering Sites
The region in central México where monarchs overwinter.


Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Official Monitorers
Here we are at the school of Barrio Sustentable Monarca, right next to El Cerrito, with a beautiful sight of wet Angangueo, where once in awhile a bright rainbow decorates its impressively-steep landscape.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico

Monitoring Chart
Exhausted and disappointed, we made towards home, not really enthusiastic to fill in our monitoring map with a "zero" report this week.

School Life
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Classes start at 2 in the afternoon and end at 5:30. Classrooms are still missing some furniture and accessories, but are ready for teachers and children.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
The new white boards are full of work to do!
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
Rosa Isela is making sure of her number-counting.
Break Time
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico
During a break from school work, the children are buying candies for girls and a marbles game for boys. It is all normal school life in Barrio Sustentable Monarca.
Monarch sanctuary region of Mexico